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Downtime with Patrick Criteser

Live, Work Play with the President and CEO of Tillamook County Creamery Association.
Live, Work Play with the President and CEO of Tillamook County Creamery Association

What I’m reading

Ivan Doig’s Dancing at the Rascal Fair. Doig’s prose, storytelling and character development are masterful, and this book includes both adventure and a great love story, all against the backdrop of the untamed Montana wilderness. We spent some time this summer in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains, and Doig’s story traveled with me.

Download

I really like the Strava app. I don’t ride my road bike as often as I would like. However, when I do, it is fun to compare to past rides and to others who have ridden the same segments on the same day or throughout the year. It also allows me to track my friends’ rides, which is too often a necessary substitute for riding together. The downside is that others can see just how slow I am.

What I’m watching

I really enjoyed Ex Machina. While the movie was well made and the story provided an interesting study into our evolving relationship with technology, what really hooked me on this movie was the set. I am a big fan of great architecture and design, and I fell in love with the spaces within which the story unfolded. Much of the movie was filmed in the small and remote Juvet Landscape Hotel in Norway. I would love to stay there sometime!

Family tradition

Sunday dinners. We have three teenagers at home, and we are all running in different directions much of the time. Having everyone at the dinner table together for an extended period of time at least once per week gives us a chance to push the schedules aside and stay connected. One of my favorite tricks — asking “What are the three best things that happened to you this week?” — usually gets the conversation going and helps us to stay in touch with each other during this hectic time of life.

No place like…

I have to say Portland! I have had the opportunity to live in several areas of the U.S. and to visit many cities across four continents. I have enjoyed them all for their unique character, but I am hopelessly in love with Portland for its creative energy, friendly people, well-developed food culture, vibrant downtown neighborhoods and proximity to the great outdoors.

Happy place

Standing in Oregon’s beautiful rivers, lakes and streams with a fly rod in hand. When I get the chance, I also enjoy running my drift boat on our coastal rivers. Whether or not the fish are biting, it is a wonderful excuse to spend time outdoors.

Living history

The Tillamook CEO role is a dream job for me. As a native Oregonian, I am a lifelong fan of the brand and the products and have a strong appreciation for the history and heritage upon which today’s Tillamook is built. The farmer-owned cooperative structure adds meaning to the work and serves as a competitive advantage, providing us with a long-term perspective and unique transparency and control of the entire supply chain. In many ways, the Tillamook brand belongs to the state and the region, and it is an honor to be a part of it.

On the job

I have come to appreciate the number of critical daily, seasonal and annual decisions that are made on the farm in order to most efficiently and responsibly utilize and preserve land, animal and water resources. I always respected the hard work and long hours required by farmers, but working with them over the past three years has taught me so much about the complexity of dairy operations and the many important considerations that they must take into account.

Where would you like to see the company in five years?

Today we are very focused on markets in the western U.S. and on our five main product categories: cheese, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream and butter. We believe we have a role to play in any dairy category where we can bring a unique offering, and we would like to continue to grow our reach so that more “real food” fans can experience Tillamook. I would expect to see us providing products in additional dairy categories and for our geographical reach to have expanded beyond the West.

Advice for young people

There are significant challenges facing global food systems, notably the need to provide safe, high-quality food to billions more people without destroying the planet. Those who bring talent, creativity and energy to this industry will be rewarded with fun and challenging career opportunities and the chance to make a meaningful difference in the world.

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